During Transgender Awareness Week, GLAAD teamed up with Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP), a New York-based legal aid organization, to speak out about health care discrimination faced by transgender and gender non-conforming people simply trying to survive. Healthcare For All features transgender and gender non-conforming people and their loved ones sharing their experiences of being denied even the most basic health care coverage, just for being who they are.
In addition to raising awareness through a video campaign, SRLP and GLAAD have launched a Change.org petition to urge New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Health Commissioner Nirav Shah to repeal New York State Medicaid's new regulation excluding trans and gender non-conforming New Yorkers from its program.
That's right: Transgender New Yorkers are prevented from accessing Medicaid due to a state regulation that denies them coverage. With transgender people living in poverty at 4 times the national average, a staggering 19% of transgender people report lacking any form of health insurance, including Medicaid. This policy not only targets trans people unfairly, but legally reinforces discrimination by insurance carriers and health care providers.
"Despite the American Medical Association's recommendation that insurers cover all necessary care for trans people, many insurance carriers routinely refuse coverage for necessary care," explains healthcare administrator Finn. Healthcare For All aims to bring attention to this New York regulation and similar policies across the country, and pressure lawmakers to make health care safe and accessible to all.
In addition to being denied care as a result of this law, trans and gender non-conforming people often struggle to find trans-friendly and trans-knowledgeable health care providers. According to family nurse practictioner Ronica Mukerjee, "19% of trans people were refused any kind of medical care due to transgender or gender non-conforming status, 28% experience verbal harassment in medical settings, 2% of those people experience being physically attacked while in the doctor's office, [and] 50% of all trans patients had to explain trans care to their medical provider."
Healthcare for transgender people is not 'special' care. As Ronica explains, the treatments involved in trans care are actually treatments that everyone has access to, but are specifically denied to trans people, including estrogen and progesterone prescribed to post-menopausal women and many services provided by reproductive endocrinology. Furthermore, health treatments for transgender people are safe, effective and medically necessary for many.
Join GLAAD and Sylvia Rivera Law Project in raising awareness about health care discrimination and taking action to bring about Healthcare For All.
Sign the Change.org petition to repeal the New York State Medicaid regulation denying coverage to trans and gender non-conforming people.